If I were to ask you what your definition of success is could you answer it in a relatively quick fashion? Or would you do as so many do, fumble for an answer — rattling off the common responses which tend to show up when one is asked this question. Answers such as… I’ll be successful when I have x number of dollars in the bank.
Or would you instead have an answer which is highly personal to you, to your own life, where you are now, combined with a carefully crafted vision of where you want your life to take you in the future?
As Henry David Thoreau so eloquently said — “Most people lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” In my humble opinion many people miss the mark, not because they lack the ability to achieve success in their given endeavors, but rather because they never take the time to truly identify what success means to them. And as a result end up moving aimlessly hoping to hit upon what it is they think they want to achieve — often not even truly realizing what it is they are seeking.
When we have a solid definition crafted we can use it to lay out a plan which we can follow that will naturally put us in alignment with whatever it is that we believe to be most important.
Believe it or not I have had conversations with people who after taking the time to define what success means to them personally — realized in that very moment that they had in fact already experienced many times where they had met with great success in their life. Imagine that, here were people who longed to achieve this magical place, but up to that point hadn’t ever taken the time to get clear on what that “place” even was.
Upon doing so, they acquired a different outlook, one which they could feel good about, knowing that they had already experienced many times where they’d already met with personal achievement.
I’m fond of the saying, “success begets success”. Which in its simplest form means that one achievement — no matter how small it may appear at the time allows us to build upon that achievement and move forward on the next task, which upon completion will propel us further on our next undertaking. Hence, success begets success. Or, one successful outcome leads to greater accomplishments.
If you have yet to get clear on what success means to you — take the time to do that now. Be sure that your definition is highly personal. Acknowledge times in your life where you have met with positive outcomes. Take pleasure in those times and be sure to give yourself your due credit (you earned the right to do so).
When you have your personal definition of success clearly defined you will have a powerful road map from which you can make decisions — you will have a gauge from which you can look at potential goals and ideas and measure the commitment it will take to see them through to completion based on those things that are most important to you.
In some instances you may find that a given undertaking isn’t really in alignment with your definition of success — and that even if you were to achieve a goal or set of goals that it wouldn’t move you closer to what you personally define as leading a successful life.
At other times it will be crystal clear that your current endeavors — the path you find yourself on are totally in line with what you’ve taken the time to define as being successful after you’ve compared them to what you’ve identified.
Most of all you will gain a sense of peace from having clearly defined what success means to you — thus ensuring you stay on the path towards living your perfect life.
1) Take the time right now to get clear on what success means to you. What will it look like? What will it feel like? What things are truly most important to you? What resources will be available to you when you are leading a truly successful life? What difference will having those resources available to you make not only in your life, but in the lives of those around you — family, friends, co-workers, etc.?
2) Each morning, before you begin your day recite to yourself your personal definition of success. Close your eyes as you recite it to yourself and take a moment to think about what it will be like when you are truly living your own definition of success. Consider any actions that you must take in order to move yourself closer to whatever you define as successful. See yourself doing those things with ease — and as you’re doing so moving closer to whatever it is that you have identified.
For the steps mentioned above to work you will need to create a habit around doing them. At first, it may appear that you aren’t being authentic — or you may even feel that you’re telling a lie to yourself. The main thing is to do it anyway.
The reason it may not feel authentic is because it’s something you may not be used to doing. Think about the first time you learned how to ride a bike. You had to tell yourself that you would learn to ride a bike. You had to instill the belief that you could do it — which of course eventually led you to a point where you were able to do it with ease.
Through this simple exercise you will develop the positive habit of keeping your own definition of success nearby at all times — which will ensure that you are working on and staying plugged into what is necessary in order to fully live your own definition of success.
It’s your life, LIVE BIG! Josh Hinds
* Josh Hinds is the author of Why Perfect Timing is a Myth: Tips for Staying Inspired and Motivated Day in and Day out! and It’s Your Life, LIVE BIG!